Disaster proclamation announced after 4 new COVID-19 confirmed in Chicago

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CHICAGO — Gov. Pritzker has issued a disaster proclamation after four additional cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Chicago.

There are now 11 confirmed cases statewide and seven in the Chicago-area.

Two women, one in her 50s and another in her 70s, are family members of the sixth case and have tested positive.

The third new case is a woman in her 50s from California who recently traveled to Chicago. The fourth new case is a woman in her 70s who recently returned from the city from an Egyptian cruise.

All four new patients are in good condition, health officials said. The man in the most recent case before Monday’s announcement remains in serious condition.

“As we’ve said from the beginning, the state of Illinois will use every tool at our disposal to respond to this virus, and this is the next step in that commitment,” said Gov. Pritzker“We stand ready to put the full weight of state government in preparation for a full-fledged response when needed and will continue to update the public regularly, responsibly and honestly as the situation evolves.”

Classes have been canceled at Vaughn High School until Wednesday, March 18 after the state’s sixth case, a special needs classroom assistant at the school, tested positive.

Additionally, a sample of patients who are experiencing flu-like symptoms are being tested at 15 hospitals statewide.

“In every step that we take our priority is getting ahead, and staying ahead in our response and doing so with the safety of our most vulnerable residents at the core of our preparedness,” said Gov. Pritzker.

The governor said the state will begin daily updates on COVID-19.

The state said a disaster proclamation is the method of declaring a state of emergency, which 13 states have entered.

By issuing a disaster proclamation, Illinois said they will receive the following benefits.

  • Allows federal reimbursement for state response costs.
  • Allows use of State Disaster Relief Fund, covering direct state costs and reimbursements to Illinois National Guard and mutual aid groups.
  • Allows use of the state’s mutual aid network, groups of public safety response professionals — including hundreds of health care providers and management professionals, law enforcement officers, fire fighters, emergency medical technicians and disaster response professionals — that are available to deploy to areas of shortage.
  • Authorizes the Governor to activate Illinois National Guard reservists, some of whom may be doctors and nurses.
  • Allows expedited procurement should it be necessary.
  • Authorizes additional executive authorities to protect public health and safety.

State officials have been in communication with the CEOs of the largest insurance companies in Illinois. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois, UnitedHealthcare, Aetna and Cigna have announced they will waive costs for COVID-19 testing. Medicaid and Medicare are also covering testing costs.

The Illinois Department of Public Health has a statewide COVID-19 hotline. call 1-800-889-3931 or visit IDPH.illinois.gov.

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